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Huckleberries Online

Tue., July 22, 2014, 8:55 a.m.

Skin Cancer Can Have Childhood Link

Oh, long, sunny summer days. So bright and inviting and treasured by schoolchildren. Oh, warnings about the dangers of the long, sunny summer days and the importance of sunscreen and protective clothing for children, along with adults. So predictable. Yet melanoma rates keep rising in the U.S. And damage caused by ultraviolet rays during childhood – both indoors and outdoors – elevates the risk for developing melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, during adulthood. Besides a history of sun damage, other risk factors include light skin, blue or green eyes or blond or red hair. But anyone can get skin cancer. Ultraviolet light damages the DNA in skin cells, causing them to grow abnormally and possibly turn into cancer. It might take decades. But it starts with UV damage. “Most of the skin cancer we have comes when we’re young and develops when we’re old,” said Dr. Benjamin Ringger, of North Idaho Dermatology/Adrian Rogers, SR. More here. (Illustration: McClatchy-Tribune)

Question: I had a lot of exposure to the sun as a child in California's Sacramento Valley, esp. during summers when I worked outside shirtless hauling hay. So far, knock on wood, that hasn't come back to haunt me. How about you? Were you exposed too much to the sun as a child?

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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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